Alrighty, for those of you not mathematically inclined I'm going to spell it out with an analogy for you: the odds of teh Jets making the playoffs are about as good as that of a snowstorm hitting Ecuador. It's not impossible, but it's highly improbable.
However, I don't really feel like painting the doom and gloom portrait of what went wrong and who's to blame so I'm just going to concentrate on the task at hand: tonight's game against the visiting New York Rangers. The Rangers have 103 points on the year, good enough for 2nd place in the NHL (1st if they win in regulation or OT tonight) as well as 1st in the Eastern Conference and 1st in the ultra competitive, high flying Atlantic Division (for all teams not named the Islanders).
The Rangers are also coming off a game last night. Before you start saying "Woohoo! We have a chance!" I'll stop you and say: it's the Rangers. A good team that laughs at the fact that other teams struggle with back to back games. The blue collar boys have amassed a record of 8-2-2 in the second half of back to back meetings this year.
Henrik Lundqvist DID play, so there's the chance that we see the pride of Lac-Saint-Charles, Martin Biron. Either way, the goalie isn't the only issue. It's not a high powered offense that does you in, as these NYR fellows have only 4 more goals than the Jets. Rather it's goaltending and defense, as their 170 goals against is good for 3rd lowest in the League and is significantly lower than the 223 the Jets have allowed.
Don't expect a high scoring game tonight. But don't expect a win either.
Keys to the Game, Player Numbers and Lineups coming up after THE JUMP
Keys to the Game:
- I've reached the point of the season where part of me is ok with us losing tonight. I can't say "hopes we lose"...but I'd be ok with it. A loss would improve our positioning in regards to the NHL Entry Draft in June. A win essentially keeps the playoff dream alive, and delays to all but inevitable elimination from postseason contention.
- I want to see a hat-trick gosh darnit! This is the last game I will be attending this year and by golly I want a reason to consider throwing my chapeau on the ice before thinking better of it. That and i'm in the 7th row of the upper bowl and there's a way better chance of someone stealing my hat than it getting on the ice. I paid for this hat. I'm not just giving it to somebody in the lower bowl because Mark Stuart got a hat-trick.
- Don't hang Pavs out to dry. If I look at game film from the Ottawa game I can likely implicate all 6 defenders of letting the man between the pipes down at some point. There are other guys, like Grant Clitsome, just waiting to take the spot of any defender that is consistently inconsistent. Unless their name is Ran_y Jones. He gets a free pass. Always.
- Don't pack it in. Because even if I've given up on making the playoffs, I'm still going, still cheering, still buying my 50/50 ticket and still hoping for another 7-0 performance.
Jets (GP 76 35-33-8 78 PTS)
#31 Ondrej Pavelec
Sooner or later, Iron Mason will play a game. I mean...what's there to lose? It's not like Chris Mason is a bad goalie anyway. I'm sure Pittsburgh would love him as their back-up right about now. Though Brad Thiessen didn't allow a goal in his one period last night, so maybe they'll temporarily forget how mediocre he is.
Rangers (GP 76 48-21-7 103 PTS)
#30 Henrik Lundqvist
Player to boo mercilessly: Well it backfired last time, but Marc Staal. Because it's fun.
Prediction: Winnipeg 1-2 New York Rangers. Same result as their last home game against NYR.